GPS watches :-
are those watches making use of the Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) to locate such a device very accurately anywhere in the world.
The information can then used in a number of ways depending on the computer/chip and the software in the GPS watch.
Apart from being able to tell you where you are at any given point in time, the information can then be used to monitor speed or distance traveled and give estimates of time to a predefined location.
Originally intended for military use, GPS technology has become increasingly used for civilian purposes, commonly in car satellite navigation devices and initially in hand held devices, significantly bigger than the wristwatch models now available.
GPS watches are still generally much larger than the average gents watch, but they are getting smaller and don’t weigh that much on the wrist, but don’t expect to get the same functions and sensitivity to work in adverse conditions as some purpose built hand held navigation devices, although things are improving all the time. Many devices will have difficulty finding satellites from under a thick canopy of leaves or very heavy rain, but this ability is being improved.
It is always difficult to predict how the technology might develop and where it may lead, but at the moment aerial and battery size/power put some limitations on size, as does the readability of the screen, too small and it’s especially difficult to read on the move, but talking GPS watches will no doubt arrive.
How are GPS watches used?
Most obviously to find where you are and are thus commonly used by hikers or adventurers, but probably not the most common use, sports people are probably the biggest users of GPS devices as watches.
The GPS tracking is so accurate that, walking/running speeds can be calculated and monitored, distance traveled and altitude logged etc., so that a training session can be accurately mapped out, recorded and analyzed as a measure of performance.
These figures can be combined with heart rate monitors that feed information into the watch to produced a very detailed report of a training session; these reports can be transferred to a computer by USB or wireless connection for further comparison and analysis.
So even if some GPS watches are a little bit bigger than a wristwatch they are still very convenient devices to wear and importantly for sportsmen they leave your hands free, but are easily checked when training to see their progress.
There are some very sophisticated GPS watches and programs out there already and at reasonable prices too.